Michael Schmidt speaks truth to power

Dear Friends in Government and those who work for the Government

Raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt.

I have a certain fascination with trying to read the human face behind the facade of those who enforce laws. My attempt to meet all of you on a personal level has nothing to do with hoping to convince you to treat me better or be more lenient towards me. Let’s be clear, I do want to be treated like anyone else, otherwise we would deal with yet another injustice.

Meeting you as equals in a worthwhile dispute requires utmost respect for each other.

Do I think you have more power than I?  No.  You should be limited because of your duty to make sure that you are not violating basic human rights when you enforce laws. If there is any hint that a law is violating basic human rights and you keep enforcing it, then you are no different than those who enforce laws in Iran, in North Korea or in any other country with a dictator ship. Are you familiar with the human rights we all have?

The danger we are facing here is much greater than the brutal dictatorships in other countries. The rules and regulations imposed on all of us by fear, misled politics through the corporate lobby and under the banner of freedom and democracy are far beyond the limitations set by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

It is worrisome if you enforce laws without the ever present awareness that nothing is more important for a truly just society than upholding ones freedom. The grave danger we are facing in Canada, is the illusion of being free and that we too willingly give up our freedom for the sake of a promised security. I agree if someone chooses to seek the protection of the state, he or she has to be prepared to give up rights. Many people are willing to do that without realizing that they have to live with the consequences of being ruled by someone else. We need to be concerned when the State takes it upon itself to impose limitations beyond its mandate without proper communication especially when the limitations of personal rights are the consequence.

I and many others never gave anyone the permission to decide for us what to eat, what to drink and how to live. Neither will we impose on you our beliefs.

I do respect your personal rights and responsibilities.

Please do understand that in the future I can not and will not anymore co-operate in any actions and proceedings, which are imposed on us IF you are violating our basic rights.

Yes this might spell trouble and hardship for me and others.

I have spent the last three years giving everyone involved the benefit of the doubt. I now have moved on.

We have the choice to resist with love and determination. We are ready to enter into a new chapter of civil disobedience. There are many of us and there will be more to come as we proceed.

We are, as always, open for a constructive dialogue

Regards,

Michael Schmidt

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24 Comments

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24 responses to “Michael Schmidt speaks truth to power

  1. Thanks, Michael!

    How can we help?

  2. Gord

    1. In Canada there is no such thing as the Bill of Rights. He’d better get clear which side of the border he’s on. Besides, if he’s willing to ask for his rights under the law, he’d better be willing to follow other laws, too – who is he to pick and choose? Civil disobedience is not following the law.

    2. This is an act of agression, and as such, nothing which I can support. Agression is a form of violence, which can never bring about any real change. The only change that can happen is in a person’s heart.

    3. By stating publicly stating that civil disobedience is a possibility, he has likely just gotten himself flagged for crossing the Canada/US border – thus thwarting his own intentions of helping those in Wisconsin.

    • Michael

      Hi Gord
      here is the document from the website of the Justice Department

      http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/C-12.3/page-1.html

      Canadian Bill of Rights

      1960, c. 44

      [Assented to August 10th, 1960]

      An Act for the Recognition and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
      Preamble
      The Parliament of Canada, affirming that the Canadian Nation is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, the dignity and worth of the human person and the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions;
      Affirming also that men and institutions remain free only when freedom is founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and the rule of law;
      And being desirous of enshrining these principles and the human rights and fundamental freedoms derived from them, in a Bill of Rights which shall reflect the respect of Parliament for its constitutional authority and which shall ensure the protection of these rights and freedoms in Canada:

      Therefore Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
      PART I
      BILL OF RIGHTS

      Recognition and declaration of rights and freedoms
      1. It is hereby recognized and declared that in Canada there have existed and shall continue to exist without discrimination by reason of race, national origin, colour, religion or sex, the following human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely,
      (a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property, and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;
      (b) the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law;
      (c) freedom of religion;
      (d) freedom of speech;
      (e) freedom of assembly and association; and
      (f) freedom of the press.

      Construction of law
      2. Every law of Canada shall, unless it is expressly declared by an Act of the Parliament of Canada that it shall operate notwithstanding the Canadian Bill of Rights, be so construed and applied as not to abrogate, abridge or infringe or to authorize the abrogation, abridgment or infringement of any of the rights or freedoms herein recognized and declared, and in particular, no law of Canada shall be construed or applied so as to
      (a) authorize or effect the arbitrary detention, imprisonment or exile of any person;
      (b) impose or authorize the imposition of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment;
      (c) deprive a person who has been arrested or detained

      (i) of the right to be informed promptly of the reason for his arrest or detention,

      (ii) of the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay, or

      (iii) of the remedy by way of habeas corpus for the determination of the validity of his detention and for his release if the detention is not lawful;
      (d) authorize a court, tribunal, commission, board or other authority to compel a person to give evidence if he is denied counsel, protection against self crimination or other constitutional safeguards;
      (e) deprive a person of the right to a fair hearing in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice for the determination of his rights and obligations;
      (f) deprive a person charged with a criminal offence of the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, or of the right to reasonable bail without just cause; or
      (g) deprive a person of the right to the assistance of an interpreter in any proceedings in which he is involved or in which he is a party or a witness, before a court, commission, board or other tribunal, if he does not understand or speak the language in which such proceedings are conducted.

      Duties of Minister of Justice
      3. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the Minister of Justice shall, in accordance with such regulations as may be prescribed by the Governor in Council, examine every regulation transmitted to the Clerk of the Privy Council for registration pursuant to the Statutory Instruments Act and every Bill introduced in or presented to the House of Commons by a Minister of the Crown, in order to ascertain whether any of the provisions thereof are inconsistent with the purposes and provisions of this Part and he shall report any such inconsistency to the House of Commons at the first convenient opportunity.

      Exception

      (2) A regulation need not be examined in accordance with subsection (1) if prior to being made it was examined as a proposed regulation in accordance with section 3 of the Statutory Instruments Act to ensure that it was not inconsistent with the purposes and provisions of this Part.

      1960, c. 44, s. 3; 1970-71-72, c. 38, s. 29; 1985, c. 26, s. 105; 1992, c. 1, s. 144(F).

      Short title
      4. The provisions of this Part shall be known as the Canadian Bill of Rights.
      PART II

      Savings
      5. (1) Nothing in Part I shall be construed to abrogate or abridge any human right or fundamental freedom not enumerated therein that may have existed in Canada at the commencement of this Act.

      “Law of Canada” defined

      (2) The expression “law of Canada” in Part I means an Act of the Parliament of Canada enacted before or after the coming into force of this Act, any order, rule or regulation thereunder, and any law in force in Canada or in any part of Canada at the commencement of this Act that is subject to be repealed, abolished or altered by the Parliament of Canada.

      Jurisdiction of Parliament

      (3) The provisions of Part I shall be construed as extending only to matters coming within the legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada.

    • Michael

      Hi Gord
      please read this line which is also on the right of this page.
      “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all’.” (Martin Luther King – Letter from Birmingham Prison, Alabama)
      Now, can you tell me of any major change in Government policy or law, which was original implemented and lobbied by corporations, unless it was done with drastic but peaceful measures like civil disobedience?
      Change of heart requires waking up to the reality, who runs the show, who controls the food, who am I.
      Thank you for highlighting this issue in a positive direction.
      I still can help my friends in the US even if I am flagged. If I am flagged I at least know it is a very worthwhile cause.
      Regards Michael

      • Kerry

        Michael,

        Thank you so very much for bringing this information into the light. We are also participating in civil disobedience for a cause. We know that this is just a small part of what needs changing if we are to retain some small freedoms such as what we choose to eat. There are so many people in Canada that are waiting and hoping that change will come about soon and we can have what is rightfully ours without being harassed any longer. The efforts of your family and supporters are so very much appreciated by those of us who would like to speak up but don’t know where to start or what to say.
        Thank you.

    • MMMark

      Thursday, August 12, 2010 15:42 EDT

      Gord wrote:
      >1. In Canada there is no such thing as the Bill of Rights.2. This is an act of agression,…3. By stating publicly stating that civil disobedience is a possibility, he has LIKELY just gotten himself flagged for crossing the Canada/US border – thus thwarting his own intentions of helping those in Wisconsin.<

      Thanks very much for your speculation.

      God BLESS courageous men like Michael Schmidt, who by their peaceful actions defend the rights of ALL Canadians.

      God bless him, even if you won't.

    • MMMark

      Thursday, August 12, 2010 15:46 EDT

      Gord wrote:
      1. In Canada there is no such thing as the Bill of Rights.

      Wrong, obviously.

      Gord wrote:
      2. This is an act of agression,…

      Wrong again.

      Aggression is the INITIATION of violence. One can RETALIATE with defensive violence, or one can peacefully refuse to submit, as Michael Schmidt has done.

      Twisting language is a form of lying, Gord, and I am not fooled by your lies.

      Gord wrote:
      3. By stating publicly stating that civil disobedience is a possibility, he has LIKELY just gotten himself flagged for crossing the Canada/US border – thus thwarting his own intentions of helping those in Wisconsin.

      Thanks very much for your speculation.

      God BLESS courageous men like Michael Schmidt, who by their peaceful actions defend the rights of ALL Canadians.

      God bless him, even if you won’t.

    • MMMark

      Thursday, August 12, 2010 15:50 EDT

      Michael,

      Feel free to delete my first post, dated Thursday, August 12, 2010 15:42 EDT.

      For some reason, certain characters that I used destroyed the formatting, and most of the text.

    • Nick

      I hope / pray that here, in Canada will never have one like Gord to
      “…stand on guard for thee… * ”

      * http://www.singforcanada.ca/anthem.html

      THANKS Mr. Michael Schmidt!
      And if you are a conservative, with no corupt morals, as i think you are, I’ll vote for you ANY TIME – Hope you go for it! I think Canada needs you…

      …as for Gord, the World is full of “intelectuals” giving useless, selfserving, unsolicited advice…

  3. bernie bailey

    Michael

    This is true as you state but at the first law firm I had to represent me they ran out of statutory time and a lot of my money and then the next two firms that looked at it said that I need at least 500000.00 dollars to see this to the supreme court as it is not a matter of rights but a matter of money in Canada. but this old dog still hunts
    still one vote
    Bernie

    • Michael

      Bernie
      We all know how people become corrupt when in power. You experienced that more than anybody else.
      Bureaucracy without moral conducts and accountability has destroyed many lives and business. That is what I call the modern dictatorship. Even the politicians are slaves to this system.
      The overblown administrative arm will kill any fair political process. It is the dragon of modern times, which is mighty dangerous.
      Yes we can vote , we can bring things in the open ,and we can refuse to back down.
      Bernie I think we still will be able to shed light into the workings of the past.
      Only because we call Canada a democracy it does not mean it is not corrupt to the core.
      There will be a turning point were people will slowly wake up. We are getting there.
      And then you will see them running.
      Regards Michael

  4. Gord

    Well, the link would have been sufficient, Michael, but thanks for the response to 1 of my 3 points.

    As for this Canadian “Bill of Rights”….. it is only a law…. just like any other federal law in Canada, parliament can change it or repeal it at any time. It does not have constitutional status – this makes it fundamentally different from the US Bill or rights which is just a nickname for a section of their constitution.

    The Canadian Bill of Rights applies only to federal law and policy and does not apply to the provinces.

    At any rate, it is largely superseded by the Charter.

    Be careful, friend.

  5. Gord

    Your second post, Michael… points 2 and 3.

    MLK is not a hero of mine. His was a very agressive movement. He is no one to look up to. Both he and Ghandi were strong resistors – this is a violent action.

    Let’s look at what he wrote, then: “one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” What is this moral responsibility? I have studied MLK and it most certainly does not come from his much talked about Jesus. Jesus taught “turn the other cheek”; “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” MLK’s beliefs came from his own selfish desire to impose his beliefs on everyone.

    And since when can a change of heart be legislated? You must really love government! Oh, but you want to be disobedient toward that government – I’m confused.

    Civil disobedience is not peaceful, Michael – far from it. It is an active form of resistance which is violent. If that’s what you want – then go for it… You won’t change anyone by it. Violence only changes behaviour, not hearts.

    • Michael

      Let me think about that Gordon. You have a point.
      I questioning where we would be if not through these acts of peaceful resistance. Violence in any form cannot be the solution. I still struggle to see why civil disobedience is a form of violence.
      Do you distinguish between civil disobedience and non violent resistance?
      Any suggestions???
      The question is, are we resisting to change things or are we resisting to encourage, to empower people to wake up and not like sheep being led to the slaughter house.

      • Gord

        Let me say, Michael, that I do agree with everything you’ve written in this post, up until your talk of civil disobedience. You’re bang on with all of your arguments.

        However, peaceful resistance – that’s an oxymoron to my logic; so is non-violent resistance. The words and concepts just cannot be placed together in my mind. If I am at peace, then how can I resist something?

        I cannot answer your question as to whether I distinguish between civil disobedience and non-violent resistance; they are different, to be sure, but they are both forms of active resistance and therefore both forms of violence. What I can distinguish between is resisting evil and not resisting evil. Just so you know, I do follow the absolute non-resistant teaching of Jesus. (Since you wear the plain coat, perhaps you know what I am referring to.)

        I believe that violence is not limited to the physical realm. Of course in Canadian society there is recognition of violence in several forms: physical, sexual, verbal, psychological (any others?); so we must then question what violence is at its root. I mean, even in common parlance one does talk about “violating” a law.

        I was thinking about your previous question: “can you tell me of any major change in Government policy or law, which was original implemented and lobbied by corporations, unless it was done with drastic but peaceful measures like civil disobedience?”

        As directly concerns raw milk… In the US state of Washington, state certified raw milk is in many food stores. All that milk bears a label which says that the dairies are state certified. As you know, there are other states where this is possible. In other states, selling on-farm is totally legal without certification or even registration (like Oregon). Still other states have other regulations and some explicitly allow cow/herdsharing (like Alaska). So far as I know, none of these laws were changed by a mass uprising or civil disobedience of any kind. Perhaps there were individuals who did not follow the laws of their jurisdictions, but then this happens every day; like when drivers speed. But by and large, these laws were made through requests made to legislatures. With evidence and enough people in support, there is no reason to think that it should be any different in Canada.

        Another example of this is that up until mid-way through last year it was illegal to transport more than a few bottles of home brewed beer in the state of Washington. A request was made to the legislature, and the law was changed. Simple, no? Also in 2009 home brewing was made legal in the state of Utah. Simply by request to lawmakers – and with plenty of public support.

        As concerns raw milk, what I don’t understand is why the rush? Why the impatience? Have bureaucrats and regulators ever been any different than they are now?

        Ours is a passionate issue – admittedly in part due to the zeal of the regulators in certain jurisdictions. Your cause is righteous, Michael – and you have suffered injustice – I don’t deny that. I’m simply urging you to be patient. As time passes, more and more jurisdictions will allow greater freedoms for our cause. Through patience, education and persistence the desired change will come about. I suppose a bit o’ litigation is needed, too. But let us not confuse timeliness with hurriedness.

        A few years ago my father and I were planting some saplings. He turned to me and said, “You know Gord, these trees aren’t for me. I won’t live to see them grow much at all. No, these trees are for you.” I’ll enjoy them, for sure, but it will only be my children who will begin to think about harvesting them.

        Peace.

  6. Michael

    Hi Gord

    First of all thank you for taking the time to explain. Encountering the current push to outlaw basic rights seems to be similar here and in the US. The trend is in fact to limit in more and more states the right to obtain raw milk. I really need to think about the concept of violence in spiritual terms.
    I do love my friend on the other side, I do respect where they are coming from. I think it is more a question if civil disobedience is directed towards human beings or towards a heartless, soul-less apparatus which just follows procedures without human consideration.
    Let me ponder these questions Gord.
    Thanks again. A wonderful story about the trees.

    • Michael, thank you for your gracious response to Gord, who seems violent in his lecturing of you on non-violence.

      Before preachy people try to tell you what Jesus thinks, remember that Jesus violently threw the money-lenders out of the temple.

      Before preachy people try to tell you that Martin Luther King wanted to “impose his beliefs on everyone,” ask yourself what sort of person would call racial equality an “imposed belief” — a racial bigot, perhaps?

      Keep up the good work, and remember that for every Gord, there’s a hundred others who are completely behind your truly non-violent civil disobedience. You can quote Martin Luther King all you want, as far as I’m concerned.

      Pay no attention to the bigots who believe all change can be brought about without civil disobedience. I’ll bet Gord has never spent a day in jail for something he believes in.

      It is because of people like Gord who cannot reconcile “resistance” with “peace” that four Canadian soldiers and a journalist were killed in Afghanistan. It is people like Gord who allow Monsanto to suck a half-million dollars out of Percy Schmeiser. If Rosa Parks took Gord’s advice, black people would still be sitting at the back of the bus in Alabama.

      Although I respect and admire your restraint with Gord, I think you should just ignore the nay-sayers.

      I would be proud to share a jail cell with you, Michael!

      • Gord

        Jan,

        Nay-sayer, eh? harumph! I’d like to deny that -but then I’d just be saying nay, so I don’t know what to say.

        FYI, I don’t support Monsanto one bit – not even any of the companies in which they have invested – and that is extensive. No, their motives are evil and they do evil things. As far as I’m concerned, Percey should have prevailed in court over Monsanto.

        Gosh, you didn’t read what I posted very closely; I said nothing about MLK’s cause – which was righteous – it’s his methodology which I don’t subscribe to. Am I free to believe that? Am I free to state that?

        It is true that I don’t, can’t and won’t support war in any form – does that mean those deaths you mention were my fault? Hmmm… you’ll have to help me with the logic in that.

        If you think Jesus would go to war then why don’t you ask him why he didn’t raise a finger to save his own life? Why didn’t he force anyone to change? Ol’ JC taught and lived strict and absolute non-violence. I don’t know of any way in which he tried to usurp the authority of the Romans within their realm. He obeyed all the Jewish law, God’s law, and Roman law.

        Or maybe I have it all wrong – he should have assassinated all the high priests, taken over the Sanheidren and raised an army against the Romans – surely he would have won and become king of the world…

        I don’t see turning over tables in the same category as killing, or raping, or stealing. At any rate, he was just being a good regulator and enforcing the law which applied to the temple;)

        To further the discussion and thought on violence… Is it violence if I kill and butcher an animal for my food? If I give thanks to God and the animal for it’s life? How about chopping celery for a salad? Dunno… just food for thought.

        If you want to go to jail over milk, then go for it – I’m not stopping you, Michael, or anyone. I sure wouldn’t try to go to jail over milk.

        Is this blog a clebrity hit parade for Michael? He doesn’t seem to think so. He knows how to discuss – make a point, hear a counter point and rebut, concede or argue further. A rather reasonable man, I’d say. I don’t care if he accepts what I say or not – not one bit. I just have an opinion and a few questions – and maybe I’ll learn something as we go along.

  7. Gord, I don’t understand how you go from “non-violent civil disobedience,” which if I understand you correctly, you interpret as a form of violence, and associate it with “assassination of high priests,” “raising armies,” and “killing, raping and stealing,” which I don’t believe either Michael nor myself ever advocated.

    When people resort to hyperbole, it’s a signal that they’ve run out of rational arguments, and I tune out. If you can’t make a case against what someone is for, then by all means, use any argument you can fabricate to prove yourself right(eous)!

    I consider your post intellectually and verbally violent, the way you’ve associated non-violent civil disobedience with all those things.

    Failure to respond should not be taken as boredom rather than acquiescence.

  8. Gord

    Jan, I think I’ll name my next homebrew in your honour. Or perhaps my next strain of curcurbit.

    I’m sorry you can’t follow my writings, Jan. I guess I just don’t have enough logic or skill to convey my ideas. I’m just a dumb farmer. I’m dumb, stupid, can’t form an argument and don’t have anything decent to contribute anyway.

  9. Sladja

    Michael, when I was little girl I always dreamed of saving the world and bringing justice for all people. I dreamed to become someone like you. Thank you for what you doing for us and our children.

  10. Milkmen USA

    Thanks Michael. We believe that consumers, educated, are also our best allies in this cause. The are the American and Canadian people who are open to learning about what is best or what is an option for them to eat as foods. If milkmen deliver fresh farm and local foods to their community members in many towns throughout the land, then this will improve the farms and their business. This will lead to a better environment, ending animal cruelty as we know it, better human health, human ecology, and access to Slow Foods.

    How can we help? We are here.

    See you in Boston on May 10th, 2010.

    Thank you.

    Ed Hartz
    For Milkmen USA

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